The secrets to arriving at a family holiday with happy children
Vacations are the best times to educate and indulge in your children’s sense of wonder. There have been times when we felt taking our children along on vacations were more for our benefit than theirs. Seeing the world through the innocent eyes of children can put the pep back in your step, and even make you feel alive again.
That said, it can be quite draining to indulge in their curiosities. The thousand and one questions, the incessant need to climb every tree, taste every bug, and the need to touch everything they come across. It almost seems like it would take a thousand-hand Buddha – along with his patient heart – to manage a child on a relaxing holiday.
Bringing a child need not be a stressful affair though. With a few thoughtful preparations, vacations can be a fun time for the family to bond, and to learn together.
Newborn and up: Tiny Love Take-Along Arch
If you’re planning a drive up from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, that’s a four-hour trek each way – without pit stops. Keep your infant child occupied with mesmerising car seat buddies. The Take-Along Arch by Tiny Love features a spinning bead ball, crinkly frog and baby activated propeller amongst others. The batting and sensory exploration thingies are suitable for 0-5 months, while pulling for cause-and-effect learning are for babies aged five months and above. Clips on to baby car seats as well as strollers.
Price: Amazon - US18.39
Age 2 and up: Dr. Seuss Audio Books
Need time to rest your lips? Let celebrities read well-loved Dr Seuss stories to your toddlers. Audio books are not only entertaining, they help your child learn to read at the same time. Even adults will get a kicks listening to The Cat in the Hat read by Kelsey Grammer or Horton Hatches the Egg by Billy Crystal. This audio book come with 11 complete classics!
Price: Amazon - US$14.80
Age 5 years and up: Magnetic Picture Maker
Remember the Etch-a-Sketch from Toy Story? It is a fantastic way to awaken your child’s artistic abilities while keeping them busy. But if you’re looking for an update to that old classic, look out for the Melissa & Doug Magnetic Picture Maker. It lets your child slide picture templates into a magnetic frame then drag coloured chips into its corresponding coloured slots. Think of it as a colouring book with magnets. Not only does it inspire your little artists, it also works their hand-eye coordination. There are also blank pieces for your little Picasso to create their own works of art.
Price: Amazon - US$20.99
School-going kids: DIY travel games
Here’s one way to sneak in a school lesson without making it seem like one. From travel bingo to made-up story-telling, there are enough ideas to keep your child from tearing up the car or the airplane aisle. In travel bingo, you hand out cards with names of everyday objects you see on a road trip such as billboards, cows, house, etc. Then spot them, say what they are and circle your bingo card. The winner is the one who completes a five consecutive objects on the card in horizontal, vertical or diagonal fashion. For more ideas and printable cards (you’ll need to do some localisation), click here.
Kids of all ages: Ask Alfred Children’s Concierge, Orchard Hotel
Book a staycation at super convenient Orchard Hotel, and opt for the Ask Alfred add-on. Your children will be treated like royalty with an ice cream treat, an exclusive limited edition Hamley’s teddy bear as well as cute items like children’s bathrobe and room slippers, organic shampoo sachets and children’s toothbrush. Parents can also catch a break with 15% off all participating food and beverage outlets in hotels.